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Thousands of Canadian seniors scramble to file taxes following federal error

Click to play video: 'Canadian seniors face delays in getting tax slips due to federal error' Canadian seniors face delays in getting tax slips due to federal error
WATCH: Tens of thousands of Canadian seniors are still waiting to do their 2021 taxes through no fault of their own. As Tomasia DaSilva reports, the delay is due to a federal government error. – Mar 22, 2022

It has been a taxing time for tens of thousands of Canadian seniors who haven’t been able to file their 2021 tax returns yet.

Global News has heard from a number of seniors scrambling to meet the May 2, 2022 deadline, due to their federal slips not yet arriving.

Read more: Canadians in for another ‘unique’ tax season amid COVID challenges, CRA says

Dave Sim, 80, of Calgary has been checking his mailbox daily — but no luck yet.

“This is getting ridiculous,” he told Global News.

Employers and other payers have a deadline of Feb. 28 to provide an information slip, usually a T4 Statement of Remuneration Paid, which informs the recipient and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) exactly how much was earned in the previous year.

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But this year, some seniors faced a delay that was no fault of their own.

“It gets a craw in my backside,” Sim said. “I can’t believe they (federal government) can’t adhere to their own law.”

Sim is on Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and is worried if he doesn’t get the information to the CRA on time, he may not receive the various benefits he’s entitled to and can’t go without.

“No we can’t. We’ll have to go looking to borrow money from the family.”

Watch: Ask the Expert: Filing your income taxes for 2021

Shirley Maier operates Total Tax & Accounting in Calgary. Not only has she, as a senior, faced a delay personally, so have many of her clients.

“I had quite of a few of them panicking,” she said.

She agreed that the biggest concern she’s hearing is the possible loss of much-needed benefits if the deadline is missed.

“You have to file by the due date, which this year is May 2,” she said. “And if you’re entitled to some supplements, those begin in July.

“So if you’re late filing, you could very well miss your first payment.”

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Federal government response

Global News reached out to the federal government for a response.

In a statement, Employment and Social Development Canada officials said:

“There will be no impact as individuals have until May 2, 2022 to file.”

It went on to describe what happened.

“In August 2021, Service Canada issued the One-Time Payment of $500 for Older Seniors (OTP) to 3.4 million seniors who will be 75 by June 2022. Service Canada is obligated to issue a T4A tax slip to recipients.

“However, due to an administrative error, a limited number (67,797) of OTP recipients received an incorrect tax slip in which the payment amount of $500 was entered into the document twice.”

The statement also said Service Canada acted immediately to correct the error and prevent further incorrect tax slips from being sent. It then sent amended tax slips in time for the tax filing season.

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But Maier questioned that response, adding she too got her slips late, and she is not 75 years old, so it could not have just happened to those 75 years or older.

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Global News put that question to the government, but has not yet heard back.

Read more: CRA to focus on collection efforts ahead of tax season, documents show

Officials did say seniors are able to log in to their “My Account” on the CRA website to get the updated and correct information.

But Maier said that’s not really an option for all her senior clients.

“First of all, they don’t have computers,” she said. “Second of all, they don’t have printers. And third of all, they don’t have the wherewithal to sign up for My Account at Revenue Canada or Service Canada.”

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Sim does his own taxes but said he will not do them online.

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“I am old school,” he said. “I like to have the paper and know what I’m doing with it. Then I enter it on the tax return.”

Federal officials said all seniors affected by the error should receive their tax slips no later than the week of March 14, a deadline that has already passed for Sim.

“I’ve got to wait. What are you going to do?”

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